Downsend School Pre-Prep Ashtead

22 Oakfield Road
KT21 2RE
01372 385439
2 - 6
Other independent school
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Independent inspection report

Independent preparatory schools do not have to follow the National Curriculum or submit test results to the Department for Education so there is no individual school performance data or star rating.

Visit the school's website to learn more about their unique curriculum, policies on testing and common leaver destinations (a good indicator of pupil progress). See our About page for information on Choosing A Prep School.

Boarding Type
Day Fees Per Term

Leaver Destinations


School Open Events

Due to UK wide school closures in the light of the coronavirus outbreak, sadly all planned open events are cancelled until further notice.

When schools reopen, we will update our school pages with new dates and opportunities to visit schools once again.

In the meantime, please contact schools directly with any questions or concerns you might have around admissions or open events.

Stay safe and well.
The School Guide Team

School Description

Downsend School Pre-Prep Ashtead is one of three co-educational pre-preparatory schools for children aged two to six years attached to Downsend Preparatory School. The school is open from 8.30 am to 3.30 pm and has before-school provision from 8.00 am and afterschool provision up to 5.30 pm. It consists of First Steps, Rising Reception, Reception and Year 1 classes. The school is housed in a former residential property and has a large well-resourced garden. It aims to ‘present each child with opportunities to achieve their potential in all areas of the curriculum, preparing them for a happy and successful progression towards the next stage of their education’.

School video

Our prospectus

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School Noticeboard

News & events from Downsend School Pre-Prep Ashtead

Last update: 18 May 2020


We hold Open Mornings throughout the year each term, at both our Prep School in Leatherhead and our three Pre-Prep schools (Leatherhead, Epsom and Ashstead). To help working parents, we hold some events on a Saturday and try to make all Personal Tours at a convenient time to suit you.

What you can expect
At these Open events you will discover all the opportunities a Downsend education can offer. You’ll meet the Head get to tour the school, meet our children and chat to staff over refreshments. At our Prep school, the Upper School children will take you on a tour, tailored to you, lasting around 40 minutes.

Personal Tours
If you choose a week day Open Morning or Personal Tour, you will see our classrooms alive with action in the course of a normal teaching day. If you’d like to arrange a Personal Tour, our Registrar, Sarah Concanon can arrange this for you.  Please contact Sarah either by email ([email protected]) or telephone on 01372 372311 to book a place.

If you haven't booked, you are still very welcome to come along on the morning.

Alternatively, we are always happy to see you for a personal visit by individual appointment. 


We are not currently running Open Days or Personal Tours in their normal format, but we working on a suite of virtual experiences so you are able to get a real flavour for Downsend School without having to visit us. Please click on the link below to find out more.

Book a Visit >>



Here are some of the reasons why parents choose Downsend:

• Over 90% of our children are working above National Average by the end of Year One;

• All Year 3 pupils receive specialist tuition in the flute, trumpet and violin, as part of the Downsend Music Programme;

• All pupils, including our Pre-Prep children, have access to expert coaching in a wide range of sports through the Downsend Academies;

• 68% of our pupils exceed their expected progress by the end of Year 6;

• On average, over 95% of our pupils pass the entrance test to their first choice senior school;

• 45% of our Year 8 pupils gained a scholarship to their senior school last year. 40% of these were academic.

Typically over 40 academic, sporting or creative scholarships are awarded each year to some of the top senior schools, including City of London Freemen's, Epsom College, Reigate Grammar and St John's. Some pupils achieve scholarships to schools further away, such as Tonbridge, Winchester College and Westminster.

Teaching and Learning at Little Downsend >>







We are thrilled to announce the launch of our new Senior School which will educate girls and boys up to Year 11 from September 2020, seeing them through the completion of a new 3 year GCSE Programme. The development builds on Downsend’s track record as an established preparatory school with strong academics alongside character development and wellbeing, particularly in the areas of sport and the performing arts. 

Ian Thorpe, Headmaster, says: “We already have fantastic sports, science, DT and ICT facilities that would be the envy of many senior schools. Our reputation for preparing children for their senior school education is already established. The difference is our ability to better balance the pastoral and academic needs of pupils so that they enjoy their schooling with us whilst achieving their academic and personal successes.” 

“Over recent years, so many of our parents have expressed genuine sadness that their children could not continue at Downsend beyond Year 8. We are delighted to remedy this, and immensely proud to be bringing about this next phase of Downsend School’s history.”

Our new Senior School >>

Meet the Head: Tessa Roberts

Tessa gained her BEd at Cheltenham College and began teaching in both infant and primary schools in Cornwall and Surrey. She began her Headship at Pre-Prep Ashtead in September 2015.

Who/what inspired you to become a teacher?

Growing up I spent my childhood in Cornwall with a passionate educator, my father. He was the Head Teacher of a village school which, during his tenure, changed the dynamics of the village as the school became the hub of the local community. He devoted his energy and enthusiasm towards the school which in turn rewarded him with an immense amount of pleasure and pride. As I grew, I too developed a love of education and knew that I wanted to follow in his footsteps. Throughout my teaching career, I have been lucky enough to teach with some amazing educators. Each of whom, along with my father, have inspired and encouraged me to find that special school with a big heart and a love of learning.

What achievement are you most proud of as Head?

Each day at 8.30am, as the parents bring their children into school, I have a rush of pride. Their smiling faces and eagerness to start the day bubbles over as they enter the classrooms to see what the day has in store. This wonderful excitement, curiosity and openness to all that is new and ready to be learned is completely infectious.

As a Head Teacher there are many things that make me proud, such as the children’s fantastic performances during the Christmas Nativity, the mature way that our five and six year old children converse with visitors, the way the First Steps staff settle our two year old children into school with such love and understanding and so many more daily occurrences that are too countless to mention.  

What does a successful school look like to you?

Downsend Pre-Prep Ashtead is a school that cares; a school that values its children, knows them well, and ensures that they feel safe, secure and happy. With our blend of enthusiastic children, inspiring teachers and supportive parents we are able to achieve something special: we achieve a school that has true warmth which fosters fun and an enjoyment of learning. We believe that a happy child in a family environment will flourish; we enjoy coming into school every day and so do they.

Within this nurturing environment, we are able to develop the children’s confidence and self-esteem allowing them to have the courage to experiment and explore their world. This, along with teaching aimed at supporting and developing the individual, ensures that high academic standards are the norm.

What is the most important quality you want every child to have when they leave your school? And why?

I would like every child who leaves the school to have an open and positive attitude to life and learning. These qualities will inspire confidence and give them the courage to approach the unknown. It will allow a child to challenge their thinking and not be afraid to question results.

This positive attitude will not only help them strive to achieve all that they are capable of achieving, but will also give them a balanced, moral and happy outlook on life. Being able to communicate clearly and feel comfortable in the company of peers is a skill that will remain with them forever.

As the children move on to the Prep School with this approach to their schooling, they can only continue to thrive and flourish. The breadth of curriculum and wide ranging opportunities that await them at their next stage of learning will open their eyes to an even greater world of exploration.

Please give 5 words to describe the ethos of your school.

Welcoming, warm, thoughtful, challenging, celebrating the individual.

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